United chasing Fabregas

Updated: 2013-07-17 07:13

By Agence France-Presse in London (China Daily)

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United chasing Fabregas

But if Barca midfielder moves, Arsenal could have first refusal

Manchester United have made a 25 million pound ($37.7 million) offer for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, reports in the British media said on Monday.

Sky Sports News television, the BBC and the domestic Press Association news agency all said the English Premier League champion was interested in signing the Spanish international.

The Press Association said an offer had been submitted for the player, who came through Barcelona's youth academy before joining Arsenal as a 16-year-old in 2003.

Sky Sports News, however, said a potential stumbling block could be a clause in Fabregas' contract that Arsenal has first refusal should he decide to leave Camp Nou.

Barcelona said it had no comment to make when contacted by AFP.

If completed, the Fabregas move would represent new manager David Moyes' first major signing since the former Everton boss succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson during the offseason.

United, currently on a pre-season tour of Asia, has the cash to allow Moyes to chase "a stellar player" before the start of the upcoming season, the club's chief executive, Ed Woodward, was quoted as telling British media on Sunday.

According to Woodward, the Old Trafford club "absolutely" can compete for players in the 60-70 million pound bracket.

News of a potential offer for Fabregas emerged a day after confirmation that Barcelona had sold Spain Under-21 captain Thiago Alcantara to European champion Bayern Munich.

Fabregas graduated to become the Gunners' captain and one of their most influential players before returning to Barca in a 25.4 million pound, five-year deal in August 2011.

Since then he has helped the Catalan giant claim the Copa del Rey in 2011-12 and La Liga in 2012-13.

Gerrard stays

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard on Monday signed a new two-year contract extension with the only club he has ever played for, an Anfield statement announced.

The 33-year-old England captain, whose previous deal was due to expire at the end of the 2013-14 season, told liverpoolfc.tv: "I think everyone knows what it means to me.

"I've been here that long and so to extend, it's a big day for me and I'm really happy for myself and my family. It's great news."

Gerrard, who made his Anfield debut in 1998, said: "It lets me know the club thinks an awful lot of me and want me here.

"I'm glad it's all done and it's happened at the right time before the season, so I can just focus on playing as well as I can."

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre described the news as "fanstastic".

"He is - and always has been - such a big part of Liverpool Football Club," said Ayre.

"Particularly in this day and age, it's rather unique to find a local player who has given his whole career to his club.

"We've said what we'll do in two years' time is review it again and see how happy Steven is.

"We seem to always be happy with him, so hopefully we'll just continue in that vein."

The veteran midfielder put pen to paper on his latest contract at Liverpool's Melwood training ground on the day Arsenal was reported to have renewed its interest in Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

After its previous 30 million pound bid was rejected, the Gunners are believed to have returned to the negotiating table with an increased offer of 35 million pounds for a player Liverpool values at 40 million pounds.

(China Daily 07/17/2013 page24)